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Fundraising advantages didn’t buy victory in SBE primaries

Both candidates who won the contested State Board of Education primaries on June 24, Valentina Flores and Marcia Neal, raised less money than the people they defeated.

In the 1st District, Democratic winner Flores raised $20,292 in cash and non-monetary contributions. Loser Taggart Hansen amassed $38,288 in cash, loans and non-monetary services, including $7,408 in personal loans that he forgave and turned into contributions.

Flores spent $17,543, while the Hansen campaign laid out $36,404.

When the votes were counted in Arapahoe and Denver counties, Flores had 22,412 votes to Hansen’s 15,621.

Put another way, Flores spent 78 cents for every vote she received, while Hansen spent $2.33. (Two independent expenditure committees connected to Stand for Children and Democrats for Education Reform spent a total of $107,078 supporting Hansen, or $6.85 a vote.)

There was a similar pattern in the Republican primary for the board’s seat representing District 3, which covers 29 counties in the western and south-central parts of the state.

Winning incumbent Marcia Neal raised $5,681 from all sources and spent $4,068. Loser Barbara Ann Smith raised $7,338 (including ($2,100 in loans) and spent $7,427. Smith also had the advantage of being listed on the top line of the ballot (as was Flores in the 1st).

But Neal was victorious with 26,138 votes, compared to 24,355 for Smith.

The four candidates this week filed updated contribution and spending reports on financial activity through June 25. The independent expenditure committees don’t have to file updated reports until Aug. 1.

Here are some other state board election tidbits, now that complete but unofficial results have been posted by the Department of State.

Democratic candidate Henry Roman, running unopposed in the 3rd District, received 29,768 votes. (All certified candidates appear on the primary ballot, even if they don’t have opponents.)

There’s no Republican candidate in the 1st District, although an unaffiliated candidate could get on the November ballot by petition.

There is a general election contest for the board’s 7th District seat, which covers Adams and Jefferson counties. Democratic incumbent Jane Goff received 28,724 votes in the primary, while Republican challenger Laura Boggs, a former Jeffco school board member, received 33,781.

The primary election was more of a draw for Republican voters, given a four-way race for the gubernatorial nominations and lots of down-ticket races. Overall voter turnout was only 17.2 percent.

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